Lately I’ve been hearing from a lot of the freshly diagnosed. Some of you are fiercely ready – some to fight, some to dance. Some of you are weepy and uncertain. Some of you are resigned to a not-very-nice time in the name of regaining your wellness. Most of you, if you are honest, are a combination of those things. Most of you, if you are human, are dreading what’s to come and wondering whether you can do it.
I can’t tell you what will happen, or how you will cope, or what your chances are. (I completely understand your desire and need to ask – your doctor, your family, yourself, me, anyone – because uncertainty on the back of cancer is not any kind of fun.) But there are some things I can tell you about me. In no special order, here they are.
- It’s taken longer to recover than I thought it would. There are bits of me that still feel a little bit delicate.
- But, I don’t think treatment ever got as bad as I feared it might.
- Day by day, or if I couldn’t manage that, hour by hour, or failing that, minute by minute, breath by breath, got me through.
- I took a long time to understand that I was allowed to ask for help. I think there were times when I could have asked for help a lot earlier: I had to figure out that it didn’t have to be a last resort.
- I don’t think I ever stopped feeling like me. There were times when I was a despondant, overweight, baldy me, but I was still myself.
- I never stopped feeling like a sexual person, or having a sex life.
- If I didn’t blog and write about cancer I don’t think I would think about it very much now. It only defines me (in part) now because that’s the decision that I’ve taken.
- There is so much love, and goodwill, and hope, and help waiting for you, if you can let yourself see it and accept it.
- It took a while to learn that the point of recovery was not to ‘get back to the old me’ but to find and understand, embrace and empower, the new me.
Go well. be well. stay well. You are not alone.